Employees of PrimeFlight Aviation Services, G2, and AirServ, companies providing cabin cleaning, wheelchair and baggage services at DIA, went on strike Wednesday, July 12.
Despite reports that there was no impact to DIA, departure boards showed one airline carrier experienced delays of up to four hours.
Denver, CO – In Denver, 152 employees went on strike against three private contracting companies to protest poor working conditions, low wages, and a lack of respect shown to them. The workers are employed by PrimeFlight, which provides cabin cleaning services to United Airlines; G2, which provides wheelchair services for passengers; and AirServ, which provides wheelchair services and baggage services. PrimeFlight workers also went on strike to protest unfair labor practices by their employer.
The strike at DIA was in response to unanswered complaints about unconscionably low wages and poor working conditions. Airports around the country have become centers of unfair treatment of workers, with contractors working for wealthy and powerful airlines like United and American nickel and diming workers. By contracting to firms like PrimeFlight, G2, and AirServ, airlines avoid paying worker benefits and obstruct union formation. All of this provides airlines with massive profits–$13.5 billion in 2016 alone.
And while the $846 billion dollar aviation industry can be extremely lucrative to some, one in every three airport workers makes less than $12 an hour. More than 194,000 airport workers nationwide rely on public assistance to get by. With these three private contractors, wages are so low that employees state that they are unable to sustain themselves and their families, even with full-time hours. Employees have also identified several health and safety issues that have gone unresolved. And all three employers have refused to listen to, let alone act to rectify, their employees’ concerns.
When airport workers fight back, win higher wages, and negotiate better working conditions, the public wins. It means less money spent on public assistance. Air passengers benefit when experienced workers stay on the job longer. Communities see more economic activity and growth. Wednesday’s strike was a step towards a better quality of life for families in Colorado.